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This family farm wants to be the first winery in Forsyth County
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The DeNardo family wants to build the first winery in Forsyth County on their farm, Stoney J's Farm and Orchard, on Stoney Point Road. - photo by Ben Hendren

Peachtree Parkway can be one of the most stressful places in Forsyth County during morning and evening rush hours, so it might come as a shock for some that just off the highway, there is a family farm with some big plans.

Located on Stoney Point Road, Stoney J’s Farm is operated by the DeNardo family and features some things you would expect to see on a farm – like goats, chicken and fruits growing all along the seven acres – but has plans for a new spot for events, some brick oven pizza and even some locally-made wine.

“Really, what we did is we just started a vineyard and it turned into, ‘This would be a great lifestyle,’” said Sean DeNardo. “Based on Forsyth County and what we’ve seen around here, there are so many people and a ton of them are interested in what we have.”

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The DeNardo family wants to build the first winery in Forsyth County on their farm, Stoney J's Farm and Orchard, on Stoney Point Road. - photo by Ben Hendren
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The DeNardo family wants to build the first winery in Forsyth County on their farm, Stoney J's Farm and Orchard, on Stoney Point Road. - photo by Ben Hendren

Five years ago, Sean and Stephanie DeNardo, their four kids and Sean’s parents, Richard and Linda, moved from Chattahoochee River Club to the farm at 1506 Stoney Point Road, where they began Stoney J’s with eggs and honey from their chickens and bees.

During a conversation with Richard about an area in the back of the property overgrown with vines, Sean brought up the idea of planting grapes, specifically muscadines.

“The muscadine is native to Georgia, and it’s not as susceptible to diseases,” Sean said. “The biggest thing is the picking and the pruning. We spend five weeks just picking what you saw of the 36 [vines]. Now look at [the expansion in] the front.”

The Georgia-grown grape has long been used in winemaking but has had something of an image problem, which the family is trying to push back against.

“The whole thing in Georgia is that muscadines are a really sweet wine. Well, that’s just not true,” Sean said. “You can make it as dry as you want it, and people are starting to discover this now that, ‘Hey, there’s this Georgia grape that is non-susceptible to diseases [and] the antioxidants in it are amazing for your body.’”

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John DeNardo rides a tractor on his family's farm, Stoney J's Farm and Orchard on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The DeNardo family wants to build the first winery on their seven acres on Stoney Point Road. - photo by Ben Hendren
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Richard DeNardo looks out on his family's farm, Stoney J's Farm and Orchard on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. The DeNardo family wants to build the first winery on their seven acres on Stoney Point Road. - photo by Ben Hendren
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The DeNardo family wants to build the first winery in Forsyth County on their farm, Stoney J's Farm and Orchard, on Stoney Point Road. - photo by Ben Hendren

After picking muscadines from 30 existing plants, which are stored in freezers across the property, a recent planting on the other side of the property will bring the total to 430 plants, which each produces 60-70 pounds of grapes each year.

Once the family bought the farm, it needed a name, so Stoney J’s was born from the location on Stone Point and the common first initial of DeNardo’s kids: Jordyn, 17; Jessie, 15; John, 12; and Josh, 10. 

In addition to being the namesakes, the young DeNardos are a big part of keeping the farm running.

“All the children are involved. They’ve been very, very helpful, you have no idea,” Richard said. “We couldn’t do it without them, and that’s the truth.”

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The DeNardo family wants to build the first winery in Forsyth County on their farm, Stoney J's Farm and Orchard, on Stoney Point Road. - photo by Ben Hendren

Those wanting to go grab a glass of Forsyth-made wine are going to have to wait just a little while, as Stoney J’s continues to build out the property and goes through county, state and federal processes before it can open.

The farm is currently going through the process of obtaining a conditional-use permit from Forsyth County to operate a farm winery, the first in the county. Other plans involve a new meeting space building and a brick oven to serve pizzas.

“I’m thinking summer next year, we should be open for business,” Sean said.

Until then, visitors can still stop by to check out some goats, grab some eggs and enjoy a little farm life in south Forsyth.